By Derrick Braziel
Founding Partner & Managing Director
I’ve spent some time today, like many of you, thinking about the life and legacy of Dr. King and the lesson I think he’d want all of us to carry after all of these years.
While I am certain he’d want us to remain resolved in our fight against racial injustice, American imperialism, the prison industrial complex, systemic and structural inequality, etc., I also believe he would want us to realize our place within the fabric of humanity. To understand that sometimes life presents situations so severe and so disruptive to that fragile, sacred tapestry of humanity that one must be willing to sacrifice everything to protect other, interlocked threads.
Many of us don’t consider that Dr. King didn’t have to be about that life. He very easily could’ve lived a long life as a powerful Southern preacher, writing books, maybe running for office, influencing his surroundings in one way or another, but he knew the time was too dire – the movement was too precarious. So, he decided to risk it all. He assumed the burden of leadership and subjected himself (King’s autopsy found that while he was just 39 years old when he died, his heart had aged to resemble a 60-year-old) and his family to the kind of hell that many of us couldn’t handle for 15 minutes. He also quite possibly gave up his own dreams of living comfortably with his family, maybe going on family vacations in Europe or learning a new hobby – because the time was too dire. The moment was too significant.
As I write this, I ask myself (and I ask you) to dig deep and ask what I’m actually willing to sacrifice for the place of our fellow human within this beautiful, sacred tapestry of humanity. When the time requires us to step up – will you risk your comfort, your hopes and dreams, and say, “yes!”
I know many, many people who carry the burden of leadership, and I, like, Dr. King, recognize that if that “arc of the moral universe” is going to have any hope of “bending towards justice” it is going to result from the constant pressure of everyday people like – you and I – who decide that the freedom of their brothers and sisters is more important than their own comfort and security.